With more than 40 years of performing under her belt, folk singer-songwriter Melanie Safka is still not taking a break. On June 2, she will bring her grassroots back to the stage at the Bearsville Theater.
Safka, also known as just Melanie, began her career in the ‘60s and got her break at Woodstock. She is best known for her hits “Brand New Key” and “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain).”
She said Woodstock changed everything for her.
“It’s a real phenomenon because I walked on that stage an unknown person and I walked off a celebrity,” she said. “Just a total different life after I walked off.”
Safka is currently on tour for her newest album, Ever Since You Never Heard Of Me. Although it was completed in 2010, the record release was put on hold when her husband, Peter Schekeryk, who was also her producer, passed away. Safka said that, while dealing with the loss of her husband, she had no idea how to handle the business.
“Peter is the business and I did the music, that was the way we were happy,” she said. “Then life presented these challenges. We are dealing with them. The only way I could get through it was to keep doing the gigs. When I’m singing, I’m OK.”
The album is a culmination of Safka’s painful truths, she said. “I Tried to Die Young” features lyrics like, “I took a plane through the dawn / Threw myself on the tracks / But the train didn’t come and I had to walk back.”
“I pretty much go for the truth,” Safka said. “I write down what I feel. I write journal entries and I put them on my website and my songs. It’s always my little universe I’m trying to explain.”
Safka’s son, Beau Jarred Schekeryk, is also featured on the album with his own instrumental, “Deserts of Blue.”
Although she was often around big-named celebrities, including taking a plane ride with Jimi Hendrix and talking with Elton John, Safka said she was always pretty shy and didn’t stay close with anyone. She said she hid from cameras and although she liked performing, stayed out of the spotlight.
“I was married in a very conventional way with kids and all I wanted to do was go home to my organic vegetables,” Safka said. “I was totally granola. It was just the way it was.”